Teamsters Local 117 sole bidder to represent Seattle Uber drivers

SEATTLE—Teamsters Local 117, which has carried on a multi-year organizing and representation drive among drivers for Seattle’s ride-hailing services – Uber and Lyft – was the sole bidder to represent the Uber drivers, if they vote the union in, the city reported.

Under terms of a Seattle ordinance, if the city OKs the local’s application, Local 117 would have two weeks to tell Uber it plans to organize the drivers, and then 120 days to get support from a majority as their agent for collective bargaining. The ordinance is seen as a precedent for other cities and states.

The drivers “tried going alone. They have tried doing it through an association, and now we are trying to do it under this new ordinance,” said local spokeswoman Dawn Gearhart.

Seattle’s law makes Uber drivers whom Local 117 wants to represent “employees” in all but name. Under federal labor law, they’re “independent contractors” who can’t unionize.

As independent contractors, they’re also barred from the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance, from federal minimum wage and overtime pay laws, and from having their employer contribute to Social Security, Medicare and workers comp on their behalf.

Source: PAI